Self-Directed Learning

Authored by: Katarina Popović

The Routledge International Handbook of Learning

Print publication date:  December  2011
Online publication date:  May  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415571302
eBook ISBN: 9780203357385
Adobe ISBN: 9781136598562


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Although self-directed learning is one of the concepts that has captured the attention of researchers and authors in adult education for a long time, there is still considerable theoretical and methodological confusion about it. Viewed as one of the main concepts in adult learning and/or the most typical form of adult learning, it has been the subject of inquiries on its nature, processes and characteristics, with many attempts at theory building and considerations of similar concepts in adult education and learning. There are a number of terms that are used by writers and researchers. Tough (1971) quoted 17 authors who use 12 different terms, while Hiemstra (1994) compared six main competing terms. The most used terms include: self-directed learning, self-education (used mostly by scholars from Russia and other Slavic language areas), self-organized learning, self-planned learning, self-teaching, learning projects, autonomous learning, autodidaxy, independent study, open learning and so on.

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